Home - VIS Vatican - Receive VIS - Contact us - Calendar

The Vatican Information Service is a news service, founded in the Holy See Press Office, that provides information about the Magisterium and the pastoral activities of the Holy Father and the Roman Curia...[]

Last 5 news

VISnews in Twitter Go to YouTube

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 1 APR 2010 (VIS) - In the Vatican Basilica at 9.30 a.m. today, Holy Thursday, the Holy Father presided at the Chrism Mass, which is celebrated on this day in churches and cathedrals throughout the world. Cardinals, bishops and priests present in Rome concelebrated with the Pope. Following the homily, there was the renewal of priestly vows and the blessing of the oil used for catechumens, the sick and those being confirmed.

In his homily the Pope explained how in the Chrism Mass "the holy oils are at the centre of the liturgical action. They are consecrated in the bishop's cathedral for the whole year. Thus they serve also as an expression of the Church's unity, guaranteed by the episcopate, and they point to Christ. ... At the same time, they hold together the entire liturgical year, anchored in the mystery of Holy Thursday. Finally, they point to the Garden of Olives, the scene of Jesus' inner acceptance of His passion".

For priests, the oils "speak of Christ Whom God anointed King and Priest, of the One Who makes us share in His priesthood, in His 'anointing', through our own priestly ordination".

"A further aspect of the symbolism of oil is that it strengthens for battle. This does not contradict the theme of peace, but forms part of it. The battle of Christians consisted (and still consists) ... in the fact that they reject whatever within the legal system in force is not just but unjust".

"Today too it is important for Christians to follow what is right, which is the foundation of peace. Today too it is important for Christians not to accept a wrong enshrined in law, for example the killing of innocent unborn children. In this way we serve peace, in this way we find ourselves following in the footsteps of Jesus Christ".

Benedict XVI then recalled how, "in the early Church, the consecrated oil was considered a special sign of the presence of the Holy Spirit, Who communicates Himself to us as a gift from Christ. He is the oil of gladness. This gladness is different from entertainment and from the outward happiness that modern society seeks for itself. Entertainment, in its proper place, is certainly good and enjoyable. It is good to be able to laugh. But entertainment is not everything".

"The gladness that comes to us from Christ is different. It does indeed make us happy, but it can also perfectly well coexist with suffering. It gives us the capacity to suffer and, in suffering, to remain nevertheless profoundly glad. ... Anyone who loves is ready to suffer for the beloved and for the sake of his love, and in this way he experiences a deeper joy".

At 5.30 p.m. in the Basilica of St. John Lateran, Benedict XVI presided at the Mass of the Lord's Supper. During the celebration, imitating the gesture of the Lord towards the Apostles, the Pope washed the feet of twelve priests. At the presentation of the gifts, he was given alms collected for the reconstruction of the seminary in Port-au-Prince in Haiti.

In his homily, the Pope commented on Jesus' "priestly prayer" saying that "when Jesus speaks about eternal life, He is referring to real and true life, a life worthy of being lived. He is not simply speaking about life after death. He is talking about authentic life, a life fully alive and thus not subject to death, yet one which can already, and indeed must, begin in this world".

Referring to Jesus' words - "this is eternal life: that they may know you and Jesus Christ whom you have sent" - the Pope said: "Knowledge of God becomes eternal life. ... Knowledge, in the language of sacred Scripture, is an interior becoming one with the other. Knowing God, knowing Christ, always means loving Him; becoming, in a sense, one with Him by virtue of that knowledge and love. Our life becomes authentic and true life, and thus eternal life, when we know the One Who is the source of all being and all life".

The Holy Father highlighted the fact that, "in the course of the priestly prayer, Jesus twice speaks of revealing God's name. 'I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world'. ... The revelation of the divine name, then, means that the infinite and self-subsistent God enters into the network of human relationships; that He comes out of Himself, so to speak, and becomes one of us, present among us and for us".

"The mystery of the Eucharist, the presence of the Lord in the species of bread and wine, is the highest and most sublime way in which this new mode of God's being-with-us takes shape".

"The best-known petition of the priestly prayer is the petition for the unity of the disciples, now and yet to come", said the Pope, noting how the Lord first "prays for His disciples, present and future. ... Jesus thus prays that the preaching of the disciples will continue for all time, that it will gather together men and women who know God and the One He has sent, His Son Jesus Christ. He prays that men and women may be led to faith and, through faith, to love".

Pope Benedict concluded his homily: "At this hour the Lord is asking us: are you living, through faith, in fellowship with me and thus in fellowship with God? Or are you rather living for yourself, and thus separate from faith? And are you not thus guilty of the inconsistency which obscures my mission in the world and prevents men and women from encountering God's love? The fact that Jesus saw, and even now continues to see, all that threatens and destroys unity, was part of His historical passion, and remains part of His ongoing Passion throughout history".


VATICAN CITY, 2 APR 2010 (VIS) - In the Vatican Basilica at 5 p.m. today, Good Friday, the Pope presided at the celebration of the Lord's Passion. Following the reading of the Passion, Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa O.F.M. Cap., preacher of the Pontifical Household, pronounced his traditional Good Friday homily. The ceremony continued with the universal prayer, veneration of the Cross and Holy Communion.

At 9 p.m. the Holy Father travelled to the Colosseum where he led the "Via Crucis" or Way of the Cross. The meditations this year were prepared by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, vicar general emeritus of His Holiness for the diocese of Rome.

Benedict XVI oversaw the ceremony from the Palatine Hill while Cardinal Agostino Vallini, vicar general for the diocese of Rome, carried the cross over the first and last stations. Over the other stations it was carried by two Haitian faithful, two Iraqis, a woman from the Democratic Republic of Congo, a woman from Vietnam, two Franciscan friars from the Custody of the Holy Land, two volunteer healthcare workers, a person in a wheelchair, and a family from the diocese of Rome.

At the end of the ceremony, the Holy Father addressed some remarks to those present.

"The texts, the meditations and the prayers of the Way of the Cross have helped us to consider the mystery of the Passion in order to appreciate the great lesson of love which God gave on the Cross, that there might be born in us a renewed desire to change our hearts, living each day that love which is the only force able to change the world".

"Good Friday is the greatest day of hope, come to fruition upon the Cross. ... From the day on which Christ was raised upon it, the Cross, which had seemed to be a sign of desolation, of abandonment, and of failure, has become a new beginning: from the profundity of death is raised the promise of eternal life. The victorious splendour of the dawning day of Easter already shines upon the Cross.

"In the silence of this night", Pope Benedict added, "in the silence which envelopes Holy Saturday, touched by the limitless love of God, we live in the hope of the dawn of the third day, the dawn of the victory of God's love, the luminous daybreak which allows the eyes of our heart to see our life afresh, its difficulties, its suffering.

"Our failures, our disappointments, our bitterness, which seem to signal that all is lost, are instead illumined by hope. The act of love upon the Cross is confirmed by the Father and the dazzling light of the resurrection enfolds and transforms everything: friendship can be born from betrayal, forgiveness from denial, love from hate".

The Holy Father concluded by asking the Lord's help "to carry our cross with love, and to carry our daily crosses in the certainty that they have been enlightened by the dazzling light of Easter".


VATICAN CITY, 3 APR 2010 (VIS) - At 9 p.m. today in St. Peter's Basilica, the Pope presided at the solemn Easter vigil, which began in the atrium of the basilica where he blessed the new fire and lighted the Easter candle. This was followed by the procession towards the altar with the singing of the "Exultet". During the course of the Baptismal liturgy, the Holy Father administered the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation to six catechumens from various countries.

After the Gospel reading, the Pope pronounced his homily which he began with a reference to the apocryphal Jewish book "The Life of Adam and Eve", an account of Seth's journey to Paradise in search of the oil of mercy to heal his father Adam. This "legend lays bare the whole of humanity's anguish at the destiny of illness, pain and death that has been imposed upon us", said the Holy Father, referring also to "man's resistance to death. ... Somewhere - people have constantly thought - there must be some cure for death".

"Today too, the search for a source of healing continues. Modern medical science strives, if not exactly to exclude death, at least to eliminate as many as possible of its causes, to postpone it further and further, to prolong life more and more". Yet, the Pope asked, would it be good to postpone death indefinitely? If we did, "humanity would become extraordinarily old, there would be no more room for youth. Capacity for innovation would die, and endless life would be no paradise, if anything a condemnation.

"The true cure for death", he added, "must be different. It cannot lead simply to an indefinite prolongation of this current life. It would have to transform our lives from within. It would need to create a new life within us, truly fit for eternity: it would need to transform us in such a way as not to come to an end with death, but only then to begin in fullness.

"What is new and exciting in the Christian message, in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, was and is what we have been told: that this cure for death, this true medicine of immortality, does exist. It has been found. It is within our reach. In Baptism, this medicine is given to us. A new life begins in us, a life that matures in faith and is not extinguished by the death of the old life, but is only then fully revealed".

"What happens in Baptism is the beginning of a process that embraces the whole of our life - it makes us fit for eternity, in such a way that, robed in the garment of light of Jesus Christ, we can appear before the face of God and live with Him for ever. In the rite of Baptism there are two elements in which this event is expressed and made visible in a way that demands commitment for the rest of our lives. First is the rite of renunciation and the promises. ... We remove the 'old garments', which we cannot wear in God's presence. ... This renunciation is actually a promise in which we hold out our hand to Christ, that He may guide us and re-clothe us".

The Pope explained how St. Paul calls these old garments "works of the flesh" and designates them thus: "'fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit, envy, drunkenness, carousing and the like'. These are the garments that we remove: the garments of death".

In the early Church, those being baptised turned towards the east, the symbol of light, because "it is God Who clothes us in the garment of light, the garment of life. Paul calls these new garments 'fruits of the spirit', and he describes them as follows: 'love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control'", said the Holy Father

Divested of his garments, the candidate for Baptism then "descended into the baptismal font and was immersed three times - a symbol of death that expresses all the radicality of this removal and change of garments. His former death-bound life the candidate consigns to death, with Christ, and lets himself be drawn up by and with Christ into the new life that transforms him for eternity".

"In the course of the centuries", Benedict XVI concluded, "the symbols were simplified, but the essential content of Baptism has remained the same. It is no mere cleansing, still less is it a somewhat complicated initiation into a new association. It is death and resurrection, rebirth to new life. Indeed, the cure for death does exist. Christ is the tree of life, once more within our reach. If we remain close to Him, then we have life".


VATICAN CITY, 4 APR 2010 (VIS) - At 10.30 this morning, Benedict XVI celebrated the Easter Mass of the Resurrection of the Lord in St. Peter's Square. Before the celebration Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, wished the Pope a happy Easter in the name of all the members of the college.

At midday, following Mass, the Pope appeared at the central loggia of the Vatican Basilica to pronounce his traditional Easter Message to thousands of faithful gathered below and to many others who were following the event by television and radio. Ample extracts from his Message are given below:

"'Let us sing to the Lord, glorious His triumph!' ... I bring you the Easter proclamation in these words of the liturgy, which echo the ancient hymn of praise sung by the Israelites after crossing the Red Sea. ... The Gospel has revealed to us the fulfilment of the ancient figures: in His death and resurrection, Jesus Christ has freed us from the radical slavery of sin and opened for us the way towards the promised land, the Kingdom of God, the universal Kingdom of justice, love and peace.

"This 'exodus' takes place first of all within man himself, and it consists in a new birth in the Holy Spirit, the effect of the baptism that Christ has given us in His Paschal Mystery. The old man yields his place to the new man; the old life is left behind, and a new life can begin. But this spiritual 'exodus' is the beginning of an integral liberation, capable of renewing us in every dimension - human, personal and social.

"Yes, my brothers and sisters, Easter is the true salvation of humanity! ... Christ's resurrection is a new creation, like a graft that can regenerate the whole plant. It is an event that has profoundly changed the course of history, tipping the scales once and for all on the side of good, of life, of forgiveness".

"The Christian people, having emerged from the waters of Baptism, is sent out to the whole world to bear witness to this salvation, to bring to all people the fruit of Easter, which consists in a new life, freed from sin and restored to its original beauty, to its goodness and truth. ... The Church is the people of the Exodus, because she constantly lives the Paschal Mystery and disseminates its renewing power in every time and place. In our days too, humanity needs an 'exodus', not just superficial adjustment, but a spiritual and moral conversion".

"I pray to the Lord Jesus that in the Middle East, and especially in the land sanctified by His death and resurrection, the peoples will accomplish a true and definitive 'exodus' from war and violence to peace and concord. To the Christian communities who are experiencing trials and sufferings, especially in Iraq, the Risen Lord repeats those consoling and encouraging words that He addressed to the Apostles in the Upper Room: 'Peace be with you!'

"For the countries in Latin America and the Caribbean that are seeing a dangerous resurgence of crimes linked to drug trafficking, let Easter signal the victory of peaceful coexistence and respect for the common good. May the beloved people of Haiti, devastated by the appalling tragedy of the earthquake, accomplish their own 'exodus' from mourning and from despair to a new hope, supported by international solidarity. May the beloved citizens of Chile, who have had to endure another grave catastrophe, set about the task of reconstruction with tenacity, supported by their faith.

"In the strength of the risen Jesus, may the conflicts in Africa come to an end, conflicts which continue to cause destruction and suffering, and may peace and reconciliation be attained, as guarantees of development. In particular I entrust to the Lord the future of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea and Nigeria.

"May the Risen Lord sustain the Christians who suffer persecution and even death for their faith, as for example in Pakistan. To the countries afflicted by terrorism and by social and religious discrimination, may He grant the strength to undertake the work of building dialogue and serene coexistence. To the leaders of nations, may Easter bring light and strength, so that economic and financial activity may finally be driven by the criteria of truth, justice and fraternal aid. May the saving power of Christ's resurrection fill all of humanity, so that it may overcome the multiple tragic expressions of a 'culture of death' which are becoming increasingly widespread, so as to build a future of love and truth in which every human life is respected and welcomed".

"Easter does not work magic. Just as the Israelites found the desert awaiting them on the far side of the Red Sea, so the Church, after the resurrection, always finds history filled with joy and hope, grief and anguish. And yet, this history is changed, it is marked by a new and eternal covenant, it is truly open to the future".

Following his Message, the Pope extended Easter greetings in 65 languages before imparting the "Urbi et Orbi" (to the city and the world) blessing.
BXVI-HOLY WEEK/URBI ET ORBI/... VIS 20100407 (870)


VATICAN CITY, 5 APR 2010 (VIS) - At midday today, Easter Monday, the Pope, who has been staying at his residence in Castelgandolfo since yesterday evening, appeared at the balcony of the Apostolic Palace there to pray the Regina Coeli with pilgrims gathered in the courtyard below. The prayer was transmitted by television linkup to faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.

"In the light of Easter", he said, "I wish to reiterate my cordial hopes for peace and joy. As you know, the Monday following the Sunday of the Resurrection is traditionally known as the 'Monday of the Angel'. It is interesting to examine this reference to the 'Angel'. Naturally one's thoughts immediately go to the Gospel account of the resurrection of Jesus, in which the figure of the Lord's messenger appears".

"But the Angel of the resurrection also has another meaning, We must, in fact, remember that the term 'angel' - apart from referring to the Angels, spiritual creatures endowed with intelligence and will, servants and messengers of God - is also one of the most ancient titles attributed to Jesus Himself", by various Christian writers such as Tertullian.

"Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is also called the Angel of God the Father. He is the Messenger par excellence of God's love", the Pope explained. "Let us now remember what the risen Christ said to the Apostles giving them His Holy Spirit: 'As the Father has sent me, so I send you'.

"This means", the Pope added, "that just as Jesus announced the love of God the Father, so must we too announce the charity of Jesus: we are messengers of His resurrection and His victory over evil and death, bearers of His divine love. Of course, by our nature we remain men and women, but we receive the mission of 'angels', messengers of Christ. This is given to us through Baptism and Confirmation. In particular, through the Sacrament of Holy Orders, it is received by priests, ministers of Christ, something I wish to highlight in this Year for Priests", Benedict XVI concluded.
ANG/ANGELS/... VIS 20100407 (360)


VATICAN CITY, 7 APR 2010 (VIS) - This morning the Pope travelled from Castelgandolfo to the Vatican for his weekly general audience, which took place in St. Peter's Square.

"Over these days", he said addressing the 21,00 people from various countries gathered in the square, "the Church is celebrating the mystery of the Resurrection and experiencing the great joy that arises from the good news of Christ's triumph over evil and death. A joy that lasts not just for the Easter Octave but stretches over fifty days until Pentecost".

"Christ's Easter is the supreme and insuperable act of God's power. It is an absolutely extraordinary event, the most beautiful and mature fruit of the 'mystery of God'. ... Yet it is also a real historical fact, witnessed and documented. It is the event upon which all our faith rests. It is the central point in which we believe and the principal reason for which we believe".

"All our faith rests on the constant and faithful transmission of the 'good news'" that Christ is risen, said the Holy Father. This, he explained, "requires the work of enthusiastic and courageous witnesses. Each disciple of Christ, each one of us, is called to be a witness. This is the precise, demanding and stimulating command of the risen Lord".

Like the Apostles, we too "are certain that the Lord, today as yesterday, works with His witnesses. This is a fact we can recognise whenever we see the seeds of a true and lasting peace germinate, wherever the commitment and example of Christians and of men and women of good will is animated by respect for justice, patient dialogue, convinced respect for others, disinterestedness, and individual and community sacrifice. Unfortunately, we also see much suffering, violence and misunderstanding in the world. The celebration of the Paschal Mystery ... is an appropriate moment to rediscover and profess ... our trust in the risen Lord, Who accompanies the witnesses of His word, working prodigies with them.

"We will truly and fully become witnesses of the risen Christ when we allow the prodigy of His love to transpire in us", the Holy Father added; "when in our words, and even more in our deeds - in full coherence with the Gospel - it is possible to recognise the voice and hand of Jesus Himself".

And we will be witnesses of the Lord "only on the basis of, and with constant reference to, the experience of Easter", said the Pope. "In this personal encounter with the Risen One lies the unshakeable foundation and the central issue of our faith, the fresh and eternal wellspring of our hope, the ardent dynamism of our charity. Thus will our own Christian lives fully coincide with the announcement: 'Christ the Lord is truly risen".

Among his remarks to pilgrims at the end of his audience, the Pope addressed "cordial greeting and best wishes to all Russians, both those who live in their homeland and those scattered around the world. May the Solemnity of Easter, which this year Catholics and Orthodox have had the joy of celebrating together, be an occasion for renewed fraternity and ever more intense collaboration in truth and in charity".

At the end of his audience, the Holy Father returned by helicopter to the pontifical residence at Castelgandolfo.
AG/EASTER/... VIS 20100407 (560)


VATICAN CITY, 7 APR 2010 (VIS) - Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. today released the following declaration, in reply to questions from journalists concerning Bishop Georg Mueller SS.CC., emeritus of the territorial prelature of Trondheim, Norway.

"I can confirm the information given by Bishop Markus Bernt Eidsvig C.R.S.A., apostolic administrator of Trondheim, concerning Msgr. Georg Mueller, bishop of that territorial prelature between 1997 and 2009.

"The matter concerns a case of sexual abuse of a minor at the beginning of the 1990s, which came to the knowledge of the ecclesiastical authorities in January 2009. The question was rapidly confronted and examined through the apostolic nunciature in Stockholm, by order of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. In May 2009, the bishop presented his resignation, which was immediately accepted by the Holy Father, and he left the diocese in June. He underwent a period of therapy and no longer carries out pastoral work.

"From the point of view of civil law, the case is subject to the statue of limitations. The victim, now an adult, has thus far always asked to remain anonymous".


VATICAN CITY, 7 APR 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Saint Catherines, Canada, presented by Bishop James Matthew Wingle, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

On Tuesday 6 April it was made public that he:

- Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of Chalan Kanoa, Northern Mariana Islands, presented by Bishop Tomas Aguon Camacho, upon having reached the age limit.

- Appointed Archbishop Jose Horacio Gomez of San Antonio, U.S.A., as coadjutor archbishop of Los Angeles (area 14,019, population 11,606,889, Catholics 4,603,000, priests 1,144, permanent deacons 306, religious 2,589), U.S.A.

On Thursday 1 April it was made public that the:

- Appointed Msgr. Ruperto Cruz Santos of the clergy of Manila, Philippines, rector of the Pontifical Filipino College in Rome, as bishop of Balanga (area 1,373, population 639,000, Catholics 568,276, priests 59, religious 105), Philippines. The bishop-elect was born in San Rafael - Bulacan, Philippines in 1957 and ordained a priest in 1983.

- Appointed Msgr. Giuliano Gallorini, Msgr. Assunto Scotti and Msgr. Paolo Luca Braida, all officials of the Section for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State, as bureau chiefs of the same section.
RE:NEC:NER:NA/.../... VIS 20100407 (210)
Copyright © VIS - Vatican Information Service